Monday, August 30, 2010

What I write when I've finished writing

I didn't have anything to write today. I've finished The Trickster Society and I don't have anything lined up to work on immediately, so what did I do today when I had some downtime to write?

I wrote the query for Trickster Society, of course!

One good thing about writing one or two books a year, I get a lot of practice writing queries. Of course, I'm still no good at them (just consider the 100% disinterest in Bell-Men). But I keep plugging away at it because otherwise I'd have to figure out another hobby. Anyway, here's the query. Please let me know if it A) makes no sense and/or B) causes you to actually fall asleep.

Ivy Andersder is a troll--literally. It's hard fitting in when you're big, green, and scary. Ivy's become an expert at hiding her emotions as well as her fangs.

When her best friend suggests they blow off steam by pulling trickster pranks, Ivy thinks it'll be fun. But during their first prank, not only is Ivy nearly arrested, she asks a shadow person for help--and ends up in his debt, oathbound to rescue a captive fairy.

With help from her friends--five humans and a homesick leprechaun--Ivy breaks into a company called BioTech and rescues the fairy from magical experimentation. But BioTech is a sister company to the security firm where Ivy works, and she soon discovers it's also developing weapons that selectively affect nonhumans--including trolls.

One of her friends is missing and Ivy's job is at stake. It's time for the troll to show her fangs.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My summer baby is all grown up

The Trickster Society is now complete at 90,000 words--precisely the length I'd hoped for! It needs a lot of tinkering and editing and probably some rewriting in spots, but I think it's pretty solid.

Even better, I finished it without haste but in time to rev up for the first fall project. After a light editing pass on Trickster Society, I plan to return to my unnamed romance book. I'm hoping to finish it either before NaNo or during NaNo, depending on how much work I need to put into it. I can't remember how many words it has, but it doesn't need to be too long--something like 55,000 words, I think.

It feels good to finish a project. This one took me longer than usual. I started it in May and finished now at the end of August. A summer book, who would have believed it!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pencils and Pens

I haven't been slacking from posting (much), I wanted to delay posting until I could say I typed THE END on the last page of The Trickster Society, which is back to its original title. And I have! Only I'm not done! I skipped ahead and wrote the very short last chapter since I knew precisely what I wanted in the denoument, and now I have to go back and write the big fight at the end. I'm partway into that, but I think it's time for bed.

But the real reason I posted is because I'm thinking about pens and pencils. I just read this over at Boing Boing about a revived famous old pencil: --I read the comments too, because it meant I could avoid writing for a few extra minutes--and I kept nodding my head or frowning.

I write a lot longhand, almost always in pen, so I'm very picky about the pens I use. I prefer the V7 Pilot Precise pens, although they're hard to find so I usually get the V5. Recently I bought a Bic 537R because it had a .7 tip, but while I like it, its ink is so dark that it soaks through the page of the cheap notebooks I use.

As for pencils, I've paid more attention to them than I ever have since I started working as a test proctor. You'd think all #2 or HB pencils are about the same, but oh lordie they are not. Last time we ordered supplies, we ended up with a lot of cheapass Office Depot pencils. They suck, OMG they suck. Half of them have the leads in so crooked it's impossible to use them, and the erasers pop out of the ferule on the other half. Some of the best pencils, oddly enough, are the ones with glitzy, elaborate decorations on them.

You know what I hate? Cheap mechanical pencils. They're crap. I'd rather use an Office Depot pencil. We have hundreds of cheap mech pencils in the testing center at work that people have abandoned. No one wants them. The lead snaps off all the time, they're flimsy, their erasers are tiny and not very good (and pop out and get lost), and they often just stop working so that you can't advance the lead or keep it in place once it's advanced. We just throw them away. Bad for the environment, bad for the test-taker, and a waste of money.

My gawd, I'm ranting about mechanical pencils. Someone needs to put me out of my misery.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Empty-headed as usual

I'm stuck on The Trickster Society, or as its shiny new title is, Shadow Crossing (100% more urban fantasy in that title! 100% less fun!). I have no clue how to tie everything up with a proper whizbang ending. I'm around 77k words in and have maybe 2k more that I can write without having to make a decision on the plot.

I tried outlining the ending last night, but I kept getting bogged down because, yes, it's hard to outline a big mental blank spot. I think the main problem is that this book's set in the real world, so I keep trying to apply real-world solutions to the book's plot issues. Why yes, I could get the bad guys arrested...but wouldn't that be lame? My main character has spent half the book training to be a bodyguard. I think she needs to kick someone's ass before the end of the book.

Monday, August 23, 2010

emails and titles

I'm embarrassed to admit that sometimes I submit stories to anthologies just because I want the comp copy. Thus it is with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Cookbook anthology, which I happen to have a story for--but I can't get my sub to go through! Anyone know if that antho is still alive? If they are, does anyone have a working submission email address? [ETA: I got the email to go through today. Maybe it was just a glitch this weekend.]

It's starting to feel like fall here, just a little. The light is golden, the air clear, and it's in the balmy 80s instead of the sweaty 90s. I'm revving up for the autumn writing season, which I'm looking forward to even though I've been writing steadily all summer. Suddenly I'm ready to write my head off, as many words as I can get down in a few months.

First, of course, I need to finish this book. I've tipped just past 75k and it's time to wrap things up within 10-15k words max. My goal tonight: work out the timeline of the ending and figure out exactly what I want to happen. Easy, right? Hunh.

Oh, and I'm ready to start thinking up a real title for the book. It's an urban fantasy, and The Trickster Society sounds like a YA book--but would be a good tag for a series name, if it comes to that. Any suggestions?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Noble Sport

Rather than wait for my fencing aunt to make an appearance in town, today I went ahead and gave myself my first lesson out of a book. Fifteen minutes of lunging an imaginary sword at an imaginary opponent and my fat, weak legs are all wobbly and sore. I reckon this means I'm doing something right.

It's actually fun, this fencing thing. It doesn't seem very practical, of course. In modern fencing, one moves back and forth in a straight line like opponents in a 2d video game. In real life, anyone trying to fight like that would get a chair to the back of the head. But modern fencing isn't designed for real life, it's designed for, I don't know, people who don't like to move side to side.

I figure I'll learn the basics of fencing--I never bother to learn more than the basics of anything except writing, to tell you the truth--and then I can find resources that will help me adapt the moves to swashbuckling-type fencing, which is what I really want to learn. Arrrr.

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's the trivia that makes us real

Until I lost an online friend, I never realized how important you all are to me. The last several months I've been lazy about posting here and commenting on my friends' blogs. That's going to change. I don't have to wait to post until I have something to talk about; the most important details are the tiny, seemingly mundane ones that define our lives. I've been writing like crazy the last couple of days. I'm at 70,000 words on The Trickster Society and coming up on the end. That's good, since it means I'm on track to finish at less than 90,000 words. It's taken me longer than usual to write this one--I started in May--but that may be good too. It has a more measured pace with a lot more carefully crafted character development that I sometimes skimp on in favor of action. There's plenty of action too, of course.

I've rearranged my bookshelves again so that the books are in strict alpha order by author. It's not as fun as the color-coded shelves, but I can find what I'm looking for again. Now I'm casting a frowning eye on my brick-and-board shelves, which is where I keep my to-read books. I need those shelves, so I'm going to try and read as many of the to-read books as I can in the next few months. And I'm already at 42 books read for the year!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

RIP Jamie

I just found out that fellow writer and online friend Jamie Eyberg and his wife died this past weekend. I'm shocked and horrified. Things like this don't really happen, not really, not in real life--or at least they only happen to people I don't know.

I don't have any words to say, except that Jamie will be sadly missed by his friends and readers. Rest in peace.

A memorial fund has been set up to help their children; information about it is available here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Horror meme!

Oh no! Natalie L. Sin has tagged me! I'm supposed to tag five others, but honestly, by the time I get tagged for anything, everyone I know has been tagged already. So if you want to do this one, consider yourself tagged. I'm so boring.

Now, the meme. I'm supposed to post a series of photos from horror movies, and the photos must all relate to a theme.

This one's hard for me. I don't watch horror movies because they either gross me out or bore me, or both. Therefore, I'll fudge just a bit as none of these movies would probably be considered real horror.

Can you guess the theme? Can you? CAN YOU? Here's a hint:

Bela Lugosi = awesome.

From The Vampire's Assistant, which I quite liked.

I never did see a single episode of the show, but I saw the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie like five times in the theater. I'm willing to bet most people who liked the show never even knew there was a movie that started it all.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Blah blah blah

I think the more I twitter, the less I blog. Of course, it doesn't help that I don't have much to blog about lately. Blah blah wordcount blah blah my job is exhausting blah blah rearranging bookshelves blah blah rejection blah blah blah.

Last night I mowed the lawn. I think I made about a dozen tweets about it, as if it was important or something, and then I realized just what a tedious person I've become. Not that I've ever been the sort to do great big amazing things, but seriously. Tweeting more than once about mowing the lawn? Sad.

At least I can console myself that while I was mowing the lawn, I was working out plot points for The Trickster Society, which of course is a book about a troll woman who spends her days as a bodyguard-in-training and her nights as a trickster. So I was being a supremely boring person and a kind of interesting person at the same time! Although you couldn't tell that from the tweets.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cargo Cult Ironing

This is hell week at work, which means I basically come home, go to bed, and get back up and go to work again. My feet hurt. I'm about to go to bed, but I need to iron a shirt for tomorrow, so I set up the ironing board and put the shirt on it and I'm going to go to bed now. Maybe in the morning the shirt will be ironed!

It was great to see my brother's family this weekend. Not only did my brother fix Bunny the eee's keyboard, we also actually played a little bit of D&D! That was especially awesome since my eldest nephew, who is an unbelievable 13 years old--the last time I played D&D, he was three--joined us and we all had a great time.

I didn't get much writing done, of course. That's okay, since my brother also gave me an awesome idea for a plot point in The Trickster Society (it was the fish, Richard). I managed to find time yesterday to write that scene, and now I'm over 58,000 words into the book and still going strong. I'd make it to 59,000 words tonight but I have to fail to iron this shirt and go to bed.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


My trio of awesome nephews have gone back to their hotel to swim before bedtime, and I'm taking a break from frantically typing up everything I wrote today. Currently the wordcount stands at 51,000, but I have a lot left to type.

This afternoon I attended a meeting in the downstairs conference room (at work, of course). When I walked in, there were bottles of water on the table along with a few boxes of cheap cookies, a binder and pen at every place, and graph paper. Yes. Graph paper. I still don't know why; probably no one could find any lined paper in time. But I still had this wonderful moment as I took my place, because I was certain, in my heart of hearts, that we were about to start a D&D campaign. Alas, it was not so.

I'm rethinking the 3-day novel thing this year. For one thing, it costs $50; for another, I don't know if I'll be done with The Trickster Society in time. I refuse to set this book aside to work on anything else until it's not just done, it's done to my utter satisfaction. I learned my lesson with Bell-Men last year. I'm convinced that half the problem with the difficult rewrites and revisions was due to rushing the ending so I could do NaNo.

I do expect to finish Trickster Society in another month or six weeks (hopefully). I'm shooting for ninety to 95,000 words and I know what the very last scene will be. I'm a little fuzzier on the big ending, but ideas and pathways are unfolding beautifully as I write. Once I'm done, I'll start preparing for NaNo 2010: The Finishing. I'll be picking up the abandoned romance novel I started this spring and finishing it, after which I'll work on Adventures in Zoology. Once that one's done (and we're talking well past NaNo and into December or even January), I expect I'll be rabid to do some editing, and then I'll circle back to finish Little Sparrow. Until all these projects are done, I'm not starting a single new one. Really!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

In the middle of the book in the middle in the middle

I got a lot written today! I need to type it up, but I suspect it's more than 2,000 words. I'm more than halfway through The Trickster Society, around 50,000 words so far and accelerating.

I'm not sure how and when it happened, but something clicked in the story recently and I feel pretty confident in how it's going. That may change tomorrow, but right now it's great.

Oops, my nephews are here! Bye!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The August Garden

I can't believe how fast this summer is going. Here it is August already. The garden is looking very August-ish: tangled, messy, and just the beginning of autumnal browns and golds among the leaves. The tomato plants are not very visible in this picture because they've gotten so big they've toppled their cages and are lying along the ground, sending down roots from their stems and letting the heavy tomatoes rot amid the weeds.

I'm over 40,000 words into The Trickster Society and writing as fast as I can. I'm hoping to finish the first draft by the end of this month so I can clear the decks for the 3-day Novel Contest and my usual fall frenzy of writing.

I'm starting to think happily about Halloween coming up.